April 27, 2006

Paris and La Cuisine

One of the first things that caught my eye after landing in Paris this year was the interesting behaviour in the trains of Paris, Le Metro. Parisians seem to feel very much "at home" while in the Metro. Last year I saw a girl clipping her nails in the Metro, very casually.

Anyways, from Charles de Gaulle airport we took the train to the city centre which takes roughly 20 minutes or so. I noticed a very well dressed guy, suit and tie, hair in place, even shining, sitting on a seat further back. In his hand he had this huge 2 litre juice carton. He casually opened it and started pouring it down his throat like it was a small swift bottle of water.

On the four seats opposite him, a group of young girls all dolled up to go out were sitting. One of the girls takes out a can of something. Could be paint, could be hairspray, could be anything I think to myself. She takes off the lid and places the can in her mouth and starts spraying... Cream or cheese I don't know what it was. Ah well, bon appetit.

The fish burger at McDonald's (tragic I know, it was midnight, we were hungry...), it is actually smaller than the fish burger in Sweden yet still more expensive. I could hardly find it in the little teeny weenie box it came in.

Crépes!!! One of the best things about Paris is the "on the go" street food that's available. Quiche, Sandwiches, Crépes, Croissants and Pain du chocolat etc. In particular the Crépes that can be eaten either sweet or salty. They usually cost between 1.5 Euros up to 4 Euros, on the streets that is. In Chatelet there was a Bengali Crépe maker who made the best Crépe with mozzarella, basil and tomato.

Then we have the numerous Halal (Muslim equivalent of Kosher) kebab places and restaurants, mostly in the Montmartre/Barbés area of Paris. Turks or North Africans are usually the owners although I found this little Pakistani run Pizza Place. Of course I start speaking Urdu with them which resulted in us all getting free milk tea! All the pizzas had an added Pakistani touch to them. Lots of oil and spices. That my friends, requires a whole other post on how Pakistanis convert other foods into their own food culture.

At a Chinese place in the Bastille quarters, also known for their numerous Kosher restaurants and Moroccan Sephardic Jews, I was surprised pleasantly of course, by how aware they were of the food regulations Muslims have. She pointed me directly to all the non pig related foods.

At one of my favourite Chocolate and Pastry shops, Pierre Hermé, I was about to buy 6 pieces of a pastry called Cannelé. The posh but polite man in the shop stopped me and said “non, non, il y a de Rom!” (No, no, there is Rum in it).

That made my day…

*Blogger won't for some reason upload images. Will update with some pics later.

22 comments:

khanana said...

Yummmm I’m hungry :D

Seabrook Crisps said...

yeh i been there too, unfortunately we stayed jus round teh corner to the red light district and always found ourselves getting pestered in the evenings :(

nousvousils said...

Nice day!
Please don't write so much good things about french people, because I know one blogger who will automaticaly disagree with you :)) "Brit spirit"

Hey, Buj don't take it personaly, I appreciate your last comments about me, thanks. Leave away your brit influence :)
I will not add anything more regarding France, French, Arabs North African or so, I don't want to show how I am very proud and arrogant (like all french) :)
My last note on April 20 entry starts a huge an interesting debate....
Last thing, Shaykhspeara Sha'ira your french sounds not bad, I am sure you can learn it easily...

BuJ said...

nousvousils... oh man.. oh.. boy..

i am a muslim arab and i am proud of those two characteristics. true that i have lived in the UK but i do not consider myself british, however i have opened my mind and eyes to what the british think. this doesn't mean that i agree with them on everything.

sometimes i am harsh or direct with my comments, it doesn't mean that i want to offend. do not think that i have anything against the french people.. i am sure they are quite nice.. i went there once.. they kissed a lot.. which is good :)

also.. in case you were referring to me.. i do not think you know me enough from two comments to know that i will "automatically disagree" with you.

how about i tell you directly (in case you haven't noticed indirectly) that i agree with you on this one.

Sleepless In Muscat said...

you know. i thought you wanted me to come on and comment on your blog so that you can do the same for me :)

but as it is, i realized that you hadn't commented on mine for quite sometime except very recently

nousvousils said...

In fact, I think i found the subject for teezing you dear Buj.
Don't take it personaly, its was a joke, maybe not good one?
You're right about the fact I don't know you enough...
But I apreciate your point of view about this discriminate law according to the hijab in public and institutional place.
For the rest, I will be happy to welcome you in France, Ahlan wasahlan!

koonj said...

glad the pastry guy made your day! looking forward to the photos!

BuJ said...

thanks for the teeeeez :)

thanks also for the invite, and welcome here as well.. but i doubt u will want to come to this wet and cold island hehe

Arabized said...

I always wanted to go to France, until i took a french course at university. I had a Parisian Professor who would say things in a tone that was so disrepectful. A few students picked up on it and did I show her that whatever she thinks, thats her own ignorant opinion.

Her favorite phrase with her snotty and snobby air "YOU ARABS....."

ever since then, I cant stand anything regarding France and its people. So sad that an 'educator' was acting in such a manner. :S

BuJ said...

biz i totally understand....hmmmm.. i never seen a french passport but i can imagine it going something like this:

nom: xxxxx
prenom: Jean Michel
nationalité: Français
description: arrogant

not in general.... but according to some of the french people i met ;)

Diligent Candy said...

Oh! This sounds so yummy...can't wait to see the pics...

About the teacher mentioned above - well let me say I had a similar experience and it was very irritating...but, I am trying very hard for it not to cloud my judgement of French people in general.

I know at least one French person who is very sweet and caring. I guess every nation has its good apples and bad...

Boo said...

hmmm... interesting.

I was in the US and nobody there would stop me from anything. I had to ask very specific questions each time I went to a new place to eat.

Now i'm thinkin of movin to Hong Kong. I love the place but the Chinese have a tendency to put pork into EVERYTHING! I have a feeling I'm going to have a hard tie finding stuff to eat if I end up going there.

So do you usually eat stuff that is Kosher (and not specifically halal?)

MJ said...

I guess it would be interesting to go to France, but there's a long list of countries I would want to go to first.

Biz! The teacher was from the south! and VERY proud of it, I'm telling you. By the end of the semester, I was just so sick of anything related to France and she chose to come to me and ask me if I'm interested to go take courses in France for the summer...
MJ: 'I'm not interested, thank you'

I can barely say 'my name is' in French.

I didn't get it why she came to teach here when she hated Arabs that much, always going on about how we don't talk properly, or whatever.

and what's up with Tu and vous or whatever, something for older people and something for people your age, why's it so important? Tu vous 3alak!

Arabized said...

one bad apple spoils the rest.

and my god are french people so emo!

nousvousils said...

Walek, Walek!
Don't take it personaly! As candy wrote, you canfind good and bad apples in all countries.
I will not denied all arrogants, racists, stupid people who are french or live in France.
mj, If she hate arabs and came for teaching french there, probably only for the money.
You know, there is lot of people in France who fight everyday against such kind of stereotypes and discriminations regarding Arabs and/or Muslim who are french citizen or not....
France has had always 2 separate sides : first very sweety, open minded, human... second very close minded, hypocrite, arrogant, strongly racist, full of hate.
It's depense of the historical period but unfortunatly since 9/11 the second part is the biggest.
As you wrote Buj in a previous post about the hijab law... You are totally right about that, its purely a racist law, in fact targeting only muslim and putting them in a kind of ghetto...
Again, I am one of the first to denounce and struggle against that...
Again, that not means all french are like these.
If we can improve our capacity to understand more each other, have a strongly global network between arabs/muslims, we will certainely have more weight for the justice in the balance.
No?

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Britpak, Welcome! Hmm you must have been near Pigalle then. Too bad...well now you know where not to go :)

ali mehdi, I was abroad a while, thus not able to comment as often.

Koonj, I'm glad he did too! Photos on the way. :)

Biz, annoying experience, but indeed as D Candy says, about the apple and all that lol :)

Mj welcome! I believe it is your first comment here. Ahla wo sahla!

D Candy, back from Tulip land? :)

Boo, actually I mainly eat Halal meat however if I am in a Jewish neighbourhood I will eat Kosher if I find a restaurant I like. Thankfully, our religion permits us to eat Kosher.

Buj and nousvousils, glad to see you two having a party! Can I come too? :)

Boo! said...

I'll eat Kosher when available as well... I just know a few people who don't agree that Kosher is Halal for some reason.

Just wondering what your point-of-view was :)

nousvousils said...

Ahlan Shaykhspeara Sha'ira, didn't read you for long time...

Ok, if you want to join for having party, you will have to make me laugh with a joke's french stereotype! :)

BuJ said...

Of course a party is cool ya Shaira.. nousvous and me have been partying while you were away! but I wonder where have u been...

....

I love eating kosherwhenever I have the chance.. but mind you I do not find many kosher places around me.

According to what i've read, kosher food has to exclude pig and camel products as well as mixing meat at dairy products. Animals such as lamb are kosher as long as they are not cooked with cheese or milk etc. Fish is neither meat or dairy, and is considered kosher. Accordingly for meat to be kosher it has to be slaughtered with a sharp knife to minimise pain and hasten death (similar to halal) however there is obviously no requirement in Jewish law to say "bism Allah, Allah akbar" during the slaughter.

Thus kosher food is halal as long as no meat products are consumed. I hope this makes sense boo!.

The most fun part of eating kosher is explaining to the guy selling the food (it's always a guy, no?) that kosher food is usually halal (except as above) and thus you enjoy eating it. Then check out the look on his face. Plus with my looks they think I'm jewish anyway, so it comes as a double shock. Quality!

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Ah nousvous, I don't think I dare go down that road..lol :)

Buj: just wanna add two things. In order for it to be deemed kosher meat, a Rabbi must do the slaughtering or rather blessing. And it must be done in the name of God, just like Halal meat. Therefor it is permitted even today for Muslims to eat it.
An imam however, does not have to be the one blessing the meat in order for it to be halal, anyone can do it.

Your looks ey?

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